- JPMorgan is staffing a Seattle engineering hub for cloud
security developers thought to be the first of its kind among the
largest US banks.
- The company hired 50 people last year and has plans to hire
another 50 this year.
- The bank made the decision to locate the hub in Seattle
because of the preponderance of cloud providers and the depth of
talent in that market.
The cloud simply became too important for JPMorgan to
As the bank began to embrace cloud computing and the idea of
housing information at dozens of disparate data centers rather
than a few it tightly controlled, execs at the largest US bank
knew it would
face a growing demand for engineers who knew how to keep
its data safe. The challenge? How to attract that talent.
Many of the best engineers in cloud security work for the largest
cloud providers —
Amazon Web Services, Microsoft’s Azure and Google Cloud — in
Seattle, where there’s a thriving tech scene and a more laid back
vibe than in New York. Recruiting those engineers and asking them
to move to other locations on the buttoned-up East Coast
might have been a tough sell.
So the bank decided to do the next best thing and go to them.
Last year, the company began hiring engineers for a new cloud
cybersecurity office in Seattle, housed with other JPMorgan
employees at an office just blocks from such landmarks as Pike
Place Market. Recruiting engineers in their home market made the
ramp up easier, said Todd Hrycenko, head of cloud, platform
and application security at JPMorgan.
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All of the large cloud providers have made
Seattle their home base in North America,” he said in an
In fact, the density of this sort of talent
doesn’t exist outside of a couple other cloud pockets around the
world,” he said, naming Dublin and Hyderabad as the
In choosing Seattle, JPMorgan placed its office
within minutes of the world’s three largest cloud providers —
the bank has existing partnerships with Amazon and Microsoft —
and gave itself a clear advantage in working with those companies
and hiring their employees, said Hrycenko, who joined from
Salesforce last year to be the office’s first employee.
Hrycenko said the proximity helps
when scheduling meetings with tech executives, especially around
specific projects or partnerships that they’re working on
Cloud computing refers to the
practice of accessing shared applications, processing power or
storage on a network of remote servers, as opposed to downloading
them onto a computer or using a single data center. The
technology is widely considered necessary for the type of
techniques that banks are now looking to use such as analyzing
large data sets or teaching computers to parse human
Hrycenko joined JPMorgan in the
middle of last year and quickly hired another 50 or so cloud
security experts through year-end 2018. He’s got plans to hire
another 50 this year, with larger ambitions of adding even
technology division is now
studying the idea of hiring more general
cloud developers in Seattle, he said.
Not surprisingly, many of the new
hires have come from the three largest providers. That’s
deliberate: in hiring, more so in cloud than other technology
efforts like programming, it’s critical to get employees who have
worked at companies with big cloud offerings, according to
“The important part is the
ability to understand the scale that cloud providers operate at,”
he said, adding that while banks might
be used to having data centers in a few locations, the number
could grow to 40 or more when you start using cloud technologies.
It’s hard to acquire that
skill set independently.”
JPMorgan created its own private cloud in 2016, according to the
Wall Street Journal. It finally moved some applications into
the public cloud in May 2017 after about two years of study, the
That makes it ones of the industry’s pioneers, with many in
banking still wary of moving data and key applications into the
cloud due to
cybersecurity, operational and regulatory fears. But
companies and regulators are becoming increasingly comfortable
that the security issues can be managed.
In October, JPMorgan hired 23-year Microsoft veteran and
principal cybersecurity architect for Azure, Mark Novak. This
month, the Puget Sound Business Journal
named Novak one of its Innovators of the Year. At JPMorgan,
he’s working on a strategy to stitch together public cloud
providers and JPMorgan’s private cloud into what’s known as a
hybrid cloud, according to his Linkedin profile.
Hassan Sultan joined JPMorgan this month as an
executive director after five years at Amazon Web Services,
while CJ Keefe joined as an executive
director last year after two years at AWS, according
to their LinkedIn profiles. Both work in cybersecurity.
On Friday, JPMorgan continued its recruitment effort. It posted a
job ad for a “Site Reliability Engineer — Cloud” on its careers
website. The location? Seattle.